Sinner? Whore? I’ll take both!

Back in the day, before Jesus and even before the rise of the solar deity, priestesses held sacred titles such as Whore, Harlot, Harine, Hathor, Horae and Houri.

These women were considered pure and immaculate and they were also known to be the wisdom keepers. Whore was a title of respect for someone who was close to the goddess.

In the semitic languages of the Middle East, hor meant “cave” or “womb” and the Great Mother, the goddess, the birther of all creation, was called “the Great Whore.” In that same spirit, harlot meant, “womb of light.”

The roots hor/har/whore initiate the descent into the feminine cave and the title of Holy Whore celebrated a woman’s embodiment of the “awakened womb,” which held magical, creatrix, cosmic kundalini power.

In Hebrew, horaa also meant “instruction” and the word hor meant “light.” It is from this root that the Torah (the whorah) took its name. In ancient Greek, horasis connoted “womb enlightenment” and was often bestowed through the sexual union of man and woman.

And the priestesses often did engage in sacred sexual rites, which were an honoring of the divine nature of us all and the Great Mother. During these sexual initiations, women were known for their powerful oracular visions.

Within the Bible, we see where the meaning begins to turn sour, as “whoring” was used to chastise people who returned to goddess worship. As things go with the rise of the patriarchy and the Church, this word, once a sacred moniker for devotees of the goddess, became a word of punishment, shame, dirtiness…

The same happened with the word sin.

Sin was the ancient Akkadian name for the moon and the moon goddess. The word for “woman” was Sin-ishtu, which meant “Sin Woman” or “Moon Woman.” Sin-ishtu was also an alternative name for the goddess Ishtar, the Lady of the Left, which refers to the Left-hand or feminine path.

A “sinner” was a sacred woman who cycled with the moon and to be “born in sin” was to be born under the light of the moon or from the light of the womb goddess. “Sinners” were moon priestesses who practiced the menstrual mysteries of life/death/rebirth. A sinner was HOLY.

Sin was connected to the lunar cycles and the ritual cleansing that occurred within the womb through the process of shedding in order to rebirth (menstruation). Through this holy, goddess-given and revered process, women released the old, which then allowed for the reactivation or rebirth of creativity and fertility. It was also widely accepted that this was a time of power for women, who while menstruating were more closely connected to the womb goddess and hence in their psychic and intuitive powers.

The ancient goddess religions believed that this cyclical blood cleansing not only purified her of wrongdoings, burdens and negative imprinting, but that it also extended to her beloved and her community.

The woman’s cycle was far from a curse; it was a holy experience, a gift of the feminine.

“Sinister,” which likely derived from The Lady of the Left, is the Latin word for the left-hand side or path. This was widely known to be the path of the feminine, the path of death and rebirth, and a woman who followed this path was a priestess of Sin.

Learning about how women were so intentionally and violently repressed can be angering. But when we remember that the rising patriarchy was so afraid of women that they had to gaslight, propagandize and persecute us because it was the only way to suppress our power.

Ladies, we are badasses. We are magical. We are wisdom keepers. We dance with the moon and commune with the goddess. We hold the power of life within us.

When we re-member this, we reconnect to our wholeness and to the divine wisdom that has always been alive within us.

* This information is mostly from The Magdalene Mysteries, by Seren and Dr. Azra Bertrand, though some of it is also sourced from the writings of Barbara Walker, Demetra George, Monica Sjöö and Barbara Mor.